Crazy Eights is a card game for two or more people. The object of the game is to be first to get rid of all the cards in your hand. Crazy Eights is not generally played for money but rather for points and bragging rights.
Number of Players
Crazy Eights can be played by two or more people. If you are playing with five or more people, shuffle two decks of cards together. One deck won’t be enough.
If only two people are playing, deal seven cards to each player. If more than two people are playing, deal five cards each.
Place the remaining cards in the center of the table as a stock pile. Turn over the top card to start the discard pile.
The player to the left of the dealer lays down the first card. Play proceeds clockwise.
If the top card in the discard pile is not an 8, you may play any card that matches in suit or rank. For example, if the top card in the discard pile (the previous card played) is the 10 of hearts, you may lay down any 10 or any heart.
You can play an 8 no matter what the top card in the discard pile is. When you play an 8, you get to decide which suit players must play. It doesn’t have to be the same suit as the 8 you just played.
If the first card turned over is an 8, that is the suit that must be played.
If you can’t play a card you must continue drawing cards from the stock pile until you get a playable card. If the stock pile is out of cards, pass your turn.
The winner of the round (that is, the first player to get rid of all their cards) receives points based on the cards remaining in the other players’ hands. 8s are worth 50 points. Face cards are worth 10 points. Other cards are worth their face value.
Winning the Game
Players usually play until they reach some predetermined score, such as 200 points. Use a pen and paper to keep score.
Many variations to the basic Crazy Eights rules have been created to spice up the game. Here are a few common rules variations.
Playing multiple cards
– You can lay down multiple cards of the same rank at once. For example, if the top card in the discard pile is the 7 of spades and you have two 7s in your hand, you can lay down both at once.
Single card pickup
– Only one card is drawn from the stock pile. If the player still can’t play, they pass.
Declaring last card
– A player must announce when they have only one card remaining.
Queen of spades
– When this card is played the next player must pick up 5 cards before starting their turn.
– When a 4 is played, the direction of play reverses. (This variation is irrelevant in a two-player game.)
Skipping a turn
– When an Ace is played, the next player is skipped and misses their turn.
Save your 8s as insurance against getting stuck later in the game. But make sure you play your 8s immediately if your opponent is down to one or two cards. If you have an 8 in your hand when your opponent wins, it’s worth a whopping 50 points.
It’s not always the best strategy to change suit (by playing a card of the same rank) even though you may have the opportunity to do so. However, you may wish to change suit if you have more cards in your hand of that suit or you have noted from your opponent’s play that they are short on cards in that suit.
It’s usually best to play the highest-value card when you have more than one card in that suit. For example, play the Jack of hearts instead of the 2 of hearts. You are trying to reduce the number of points in your hand in the event your opponent wins the game.
Video Rules Explanation
Here’s a video that explains how to play Crazy Eights. In this video, the host deals 8 cards each instead of the 7 cards we suggest for 2 players. Use whichever rules version you prefer.